The Finnell Firm

Potentially lethal medical mistakes are too common

According to a recent report, medical malpractice is the third leading cause of death in the United States. The report suggests that residents of Georgia who go to doctors and other medical professionals to get healthier may actually be putting their health at risk.

A lot of the most frequent acts of medical malpractice involve surgical errors. For instance, operating on the wrong person or the wrong part of the body are relatively common occurrences in the world of medicine, as is leaving medical equipment or other foreign objects inside a surgery patient. Some of the more serious and common mistakes involve confusion about breathing tubes or other important tubes.

The risks of a potassium overdose

When you think of medical mistakes leading to an overdose, you probably think of medications that were created in a lab. The risks of taking too much morphine are well-known, for example. If a doctor makes a mistake and gives you more than your body can handle, you can pass away as a result. Even if you survive, you could suffer serious injuries or brain damage.

However, it's not just painkillers and other potent medications that you have to watch out for. Some very common elements that you may never think of can actually prove fatal if given out in extra high doses. One of those is potassium.

Georgia distracted driving law may be having intended effect

Last summer, a new Georgia law went in to effect that prohibited motorists in this state from handling their phones and other portable electronic devices while also driving. The measure was meant to curb texting and driving and other, related behavior behind the wheel.

A recent study of Georgia drivers suggests that the new law is serving its intended purpose, at least for the time being. The study examined the driving habits of over 21,000 motorists in this state over a total of seven months. Those conducting the study examined driving behavior both three months before the new law took effect and the four months after police started enforcing the new law.

Drug manufacturers settle Xarelto litigation for $775 million

Two major drug manufacturers agreed recently to pay $775 million to settle over 25,000 lawsuits filed with respect to the drug Xarelto. As previous posts here have discussed, the drug was supposed to prevent blood clotting. However, it wound up carrying with it the risk of severe and potentially fatal side effects, including significant and uncontrollable bleeding.

The announced settlement will resolve a large multidistrict litigation case before the nation's federal courts. A federal court in another state is supervising the litigation and is now working on the details of how these settlement funds will get paid out to individual claimants.

What causes a drug impurity?

There have been several recalls of blood pressure medications following the discovery of chemicals within them that are known carcinogens, that is, chemicals which increase the risk of cancer. Medicinal drugs are, albeit on a much grander scale, made in the same way that one may have performed chemical experiments in high school science class. In other words, the active ingredient in a drug is the result of a chemical reaction in which chemists and their assistants use existing molecules to create helpful medicine.

However, as with most all chemical reactions, there are going to be byproducts which, in this context, are called "impurities." While many of these are harmless, others are potentially toxic or, at best, the subject of concern on the part of the experts.

Some stats on Georgia workplace injuries and deaths

This blog has on previous occasions discussed how workers in Rome, Georgia, and other parts of Northern Georgia, may be able to get workers' compensation benefits if they get hurt or sickened on account of their jobs.

While many might not think that a serious workplace accident will happen to them, statistics suggest that on-the-job injuries and even fatalities are more common in this state than one might expect, and even in professions that one might think of as relatively safe.

By the numbers: Teenage drivers are not safe drivers

You do not want to paint with a broad brush and say that you can never find a safe teenage driver. Some of them take safety very seriously and never cause accidents. They can be safe when they apply themselves and make it a priority.

That said, the numbers make it fairly clear that teen drivers, as a group, pose significant risks. They're just not as safe as older drivers. There is no way around that.

Recalls of blood pressure meds continue to expand

The last few weeks have seen a rash of additional recalls of the blood pressure medicine Valsartan, with three separate recalls happening in one week. Lest one think that multiple recalls in a week are just an anomaly, there were two others in the week before or after.

Since last summer, there have been over 20 recalls pertaining to Valsartan or some other blood pressure medicine, although some of this count includes expansions of recalls already in effect. This blog has reported on some of these prior recalls.

Doctors must be on the lookout for sepsis

The condition of sepsis, and its more severe cousin, septic shock, is scary for a number of reasons. For one, it is a potentially fatal response by the body to a stubborn infection. If left untreated, it can cause irreparable damage to a person's organs.

The other scary thing about sepsis is that it can happen to just about anybody. All it takes is for a person to get some sort of infection that the body's immune system tries to fight off. However, infants, seniors, those who are pregnant and those already suffering from a medical condition are particularly prone to sepsis.

Do hands-free devices prevent distracted driving accidents?

There are many people in Georgia who, despite repeated warnings, choose to continue to engage in texting and driving or in trying to talk while they are on their phones and maneuvering through traffic at the same time.

The best advice is of course for Georgia drivers to avoid this sort of behavior, as it can easily lead to serious motor vehicle accidents involving distracted driving. However, one study has suggested that if motorists do need to talk on the phone, they might be better off using a hands-free device.

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